Happiness and Unity

One of the greatest strength for the Jews to have is the strength of unity, when
the Jews are united together, it has the tremendous power. Also being in a state of
Happiness is vital in order to receive the divine presence.

Let's first take a look at comparing the two time periods of the First and the Second
Temple. We find that the transgressions of the Jews, as a nation, which resulted in
the destruction of the First Temple were attributed to Forbidden relations, murder and
idol worship (Yoma 9b), these were all Man against G-d transgressions. However the
Second Temple was destroyed due to the transgression of Baseless Hatred, the lack
of unity amongst the Jews in Israel (Yoma 9b)! If we look further into this, we know
that the Kohen Gadol, represented the Jewish nation as a whole, each year he would
go into the holy of holies on Yom Kippur to carry out a 'Ketoret' service, if he would
come out alive from the room, it was a sign that Hashem was happy with the nation
as a whole. We know that the First Temple stood for 410 years, whereas the Second
Temple stood for 420 years. Furthermore the Talmud relates that during the First
Temple, there were only 18 Kohen Gadolim, each Kohen Gadol on average staying
22 years in his position, which was a good sign of Hashem's satisfaction among the
people despite there sin's. However during the Second Temple era, in the 420 years
that the Temple stood, there was 300 Kohen Gadolim (Yoma 9a)!! Each Kohen
Gadol barely lasted the year, obviously as a nation; Hashem was not satisfied with the
Jewish people, what was the sin? Hatred amongst each other, a lack of Unity!! This is
one of the many proofs that G-d does not like it when we are not United.

If we compare the era of the two kings, the Righteous King David and King Achav,
who was considered wicked by many. We see an interesting observation. The
generation of the wicked King Achav used to win tremendously in war despite the
fact that Idolatry was at high levels in the land, while in the generation of King David
they used to go out to war and suffer defeats, despite his great levels of righteousness
(Devarim Rabba 5:6). The Rabbi's teach us, that despite during Achav's tenure as
King there was high levels of Idol Worship taking place, however they had one
huge merit, the people were united together. In King David's time, despite the great
levels of Torah, there was a lot of slander and baseless hatred among the Jews, which
resulted in their downfall.

In Parashat Noach, we learned of two different time periods, the Generation of the
flood and the generation of Dispersion. The flood killed all of humanity, except
for Noach and his family, what was the transgression? There was rampant robbery
amongst each other, no one respecting another, there was a lack of unity (Bereishit
7:22)! However the sin of the Generation of dispersion, the people who attempted to
build the Tower of Bavel (Bereishit 11:1), did it in order to fight G-d, however despite
this terrible sin, the people worked together as a unit. There high levels of unity led to
the punishment for this sin seeming to be a lot more lenient than that of the flood, they
were dispersed to different regions, acquiring different languages. Most of the people
of that generation survived, despite G-d killing some groups of people, but as whole
many of the generation were spared death (Sanhedrin 109).

These are just 3 proofs from the Talmud to how great it is to be united together, to
love each other. A verse in Parashat Kedoshim states, 'You shall love your fellow
as yourself, I am G-d (Vayikra 19:18).” The Talmud further supports this idea, as
when the great sage, Hillel, needed to summarize the whole Torah in few words to
a potential Jewish convert he stated, “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your friend – all the rest [of the Torah] is commentary (Shabbat 31a)”

There were great personalities throughout the Torah and Talmud that promoted Unity
and friendship, we learn that Aharon Hakohen, was considered the 'man of peace'
among the Jewish nation (Taanit 9), we learn from the Talmud that the ‘Cloud’s
of Glory,’ in the wilderness was provided in the merit of Aharon. These Clouds
escorted the Jews for forty years in the wilderness, they shielded the Jews from
enemy attacked, provided protection for Jews while they were travelling in the desert
and much more! We learn that Aharon, in the wilderness, was the man of peace.
He greeted all the Jews in the wilderness, in fact, if one of the Jews was wicked,
they would think twice in the wilderness about doing a sin, because they thought,
how can I look at Aharon in the eye tomorrow when he greets me, if I do this sin?
Furthermore, whenever married couples got into an argument, Aharon helped the
couple make peace, and the commentaries say he was very successful, according to a
Midrash, many children born in the wilderness were named ‘Aharon,’ as the women
that gave birth to the child, named the child after Aharon in attribution to his peaceful
character. The Festival of Succot commemorates these 'clouds of glory,' which were
in the merit of Aharon. This goes with the theme of how everyone should have their
Succah's open to everyone to dwell and eat together, to promote unity!

Pirkei Avot asks, 'who is the honored person (Pirkei Avot 4:1)?' The answer is
the one who honors others! This was very much represented by Rabbi Yochanan
Ben Zakkai, he was never seen walking 4 meters without learning Torah, yet he
was the first to greet everyone in the market place (Berachot 17). Furthermore the
great sage Shammai, stated 'greet everyone with a cheerful face (Pirkei Avot 1:15)'.
We further learn the lesson of smiling and being cheerful to other people from the
Talmud, "When one shows his teeth (in a smile) to his fellow man, it is better than
giving him milk to drink (Ketubot 111b)."

It is so important as human beings, we greet each other, and we feel for each other,
we unite together!! A simple easy 'good morning' wish can change a person's day
and many others in a positive ripple effect. As Jews, we should unite with each
other, always, not just through Shabbat and Festivals; Hashem wants us to serve in
happiness and unity always!

To conclude the Dvar Torah, I leave you with a story, The Talmud tells of a Rabbi
who was walking in the marketplace with the Prophet Eliyahu. The Rabbi asked
the prophet, who among all the people in the market, has a place in the World to
Come? In this market place featured many great prominent business men, attendants,
Rabbi's... At first Eliyahu could not find anyone, then two people looking like clowns
entered the marketplace. The prophet identified them as the people worthy of the
World to Come. The Rabbi wondered what important activity they were doing to
merit this precious reward, they replied to the Rabbi, "We are clowns," "We go
to cheer up those who are upset." These two individuals would cheer up the shop
attendants, when they saw they were upset due to a lack of business, they knew these
people need cheering up (Taanit 22a). G-d rests his divine presence among those that
are in a happy state!